CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
Chattanooga Police are searching for 3 suspects accused of carjacking two men early Saturday morning. It happened in the 400 block of Cherry Street in downtown Chattanooga, a heavily populated street.
"We usually have cops that walk us out on the weekend but that's still kind of scary," said Mary Tickle who works downtown.
Police say it was just after midnight when the 3 gunmen robbed the men and stole their car. The victims were walking back to their car from a nearby restaurant when they were attacked in the parking lot.
"Anytime you come out of a restaurant or any shopping center or even your car ..situational awareness is something everybody should practice daily," said Sgt. Scott Bales, Chattanooga Police Dept. Robbery Unit.
The victims tell Channel 3 the men put guns in their faces while ordering them to empty their pockets and lie face down on the pavement. One of the victims tells Channel 3 in that moment he truly believed he would be shot. Thankfully no one was hurt.
"The victims in this case, they cooperated. The black males just took their vehicle and some other personal items," said Sgt. Bales.
Moments later a UTC officer spotted the stolen car driving through campus with its lights off. When that officer tried to stop the vehicle, the guys bailed out of the car and ran away prompting an emergency text message alert to all students.
"When there is something considered to be an imminent threat we are required to send out a notice and so we take that very seriously," said UTC Spokesperson Chuck Cantrell.
Police say they're working leads in the case, so far no arrests have been made.
"When you get out of your car you should know who is around you, who is sitting in vehicles around you, anything that looks suspicious," said Sgt. Bales.
The suspects were only described as three black men, possibly ages 18-24.Two of the men were tall and slim, around 6-feet. The third male is described as being shorter with a stocky build. If you have any information that could help investigators call Chattanooga police.
Despite this latest incident, police say robberies in Chattanooga are on a downward trend.
They're offering these tips when it comes to staying safe:
Always remain vigilant of your surroundings. Use the buddy system. Don't fight back -- although it may be hard, listen to their demands -- police say most robberies do not end in injury. Also -- remember details that could identify an attacker, such as clothing, shoes, or specific characteristics. Finally if you're ever attacked, call 9-1-1 immediately.